A Vacation for Pooch by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Vacation for PoochCindy: Violet packs two bags…one for her to go to Florida and the other for Pooch who is headed to Grandpa’s farm. She’s sure he will miss her the whole time so she has his red ball to play with, his dog food, a leash so he won’t get lost and his stuffed cat so he can fall asleep without her there. After Violet has had a great first day on the beach and a restaurant with fun food and drink she discovers that the bags were switched. She has ALL of Pooch’s necessary items for survival! “This is horrible!” Mom suggests a call to Grandpa to check on things, and as adults will already know, Pooch is just fine with Grandpa, enjoying the change in his routine and the delights that the farm holds.

We often don’t acknowledge how much children worry. But their fears are real and A Vacation for Pooch (Holt/Christy Ottaviano 2013), an endearing story about a girl who has to part from a beloved pet, even for a week, captures those emotions perfectly. She is delighted in the joys of her own trip, but concerned for the friend who is left out. The adults who read this book aloud might smile at Violet’s worry infused, detailed instructions for Grandpa in regards to Pooch. Perhaps they’ve done the same with a babysitter for their own children?

Lynn:  This sweet funny book delivers a warm and reassuring message in a delightful package.  Cindy is so right about children’s fears and this book will connect with pet loving children AND grown-ups as well.  Leffler uses gouache with fabric collage to create charming illustrations in this small-sized book that is perfect for small hands.  The colors are bright and inviting and I especially like the juxtapositions of Violet’s dire imagining of what Pooch is experiencing with what he is really doing.  Violet is tearfully sure that Pooch is suffering when it is clear Pooch is having the time of his life.  Add this book to your vacation-planning list for certain!  Now we need something to reassure cat owners like me whose cats balefully regard the packing process and sit determinedly IN the suitcase!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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